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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it true that the lack of an easy to acquire and use overhead or third rail electrical supply in model form, makes it unlikely that electric locos and MU's will ever sell strongly in the UK?

I am sceptical, for the simple reason that having seen a fair number of privately owned, typically family European mainland layouts, although electric traction is a commonplace, the overhead lines are rarely modelled. It's just too vulnerable on a layout used by children; and even where it is an 'adult' layout with good attention to scenics, the most you might see are the masts on the far side from the operator position. Exhibition layouts are a different matter: but we should never forget these are a very small percentage of all layouts built.
 

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One of the first "extra" locomotives I asked for my layout when I was young was an electric. I chose the EM2 Electra because the changeover switch was well disguised compared to the London Euston model. I lusted after the Triang Hornby catenary system but could never afford it. I wonder how well it sold? Maybe sales were poor which is why Hornby have never revived it?

David
 

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I saw this in Nürnberg when I was there for the Toy Fair.



They were fitting an electrically operated door mechanism to the engine shed. Firstly the loco came down the track and didn't stop for the closed doors. They tried to stop it, but couldn't get their hands in between the overhead wires in time. It crashed and derailed. Then is was quite a trick procedure to re-rail the loco. And in front of all the onlookers - red faces...

Modelling is all about compromise and the overhead wires and line side telegraph wires are the first to go thus allowing better physical and viewing access to the tracks and trains. Remember that with the prototype, we are mostly looking at trains also from under the overhead wires. With a model, we look down through them and they add to the clutter.
 

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thanks for following on my queue elsewhere...

Overhead catenary is but one issue.....tramway modellers have overcome most of the issues raised above (no pun intended) with overhead...seeing as very few tram systems ran without..London being one exception.

US traction modellers also have overcome the same issues....

I personally even arranged a short traction wire on an NMRA module I built years ago....simply to 'run' my taction loco conversion from the MDC Ingersoll -GE boxcab diesel....

but the issue isn't about overhead wires..at least, not the one I was thinking about.

The comments by the Bachmann representatives concerning the success of their forthcoming 4CEP set, made me wonder why SR electric sets as a whole were'nt modelled in any numbers?

when DMU's abounded?

and I concluded the reason may well lie with the trackage?

we have had access to the means to CONSTRUCT 3rd rail electrified trackage for years, courtesy of Peco....

but I suspect the reasons why so many modellers/enthusiasts BUY stock items like Bachmanns are to do with NOT having to glue , cut, paint, etc to any great degree.
Time being an issue?

therefore I posed the question, why will a maker not produce a simple line of 3rd rail trackage as a package?

after all, I can go out and BUY ,off the shelf,complete trackage systems that give me such esoteric items as dual gauge flex track and points...in a variety of combinations.

whilst 3rd rail flex track may be a unique product for the UK, so is the 4CEP.......and the two would go nicely together?

the ability to buy easy to lay trackage with that 3rd rail would go a long way towards making the realistic usage of SR electric sets a possibility.

then those pickup shoes wont be obviously hanging in mid air?

[simple, basic pointwork with 3rd rail add ons would also complete the ensemble?]

who knows?

with such an idea, maybe the 3rd rail could also be used for pickup?

with all that realistic flashing?
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 17 Aug 2007, 21:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>about overhead wires..at least, not the one I was thinking about.

The comments by the Bachmann representatives concerning the success of their forthcoming 4CEP set, made me wonder why SR electric sets as a whole were'nt modelled in any numbers?

when DMU's abounded?

and I concluded the reason may well lie with the trackage?

we have had access to the means to CONSTRUCT 3rd rail electrified trackage for years, courtesy of Peco....

but I suspect the reasons why so many modellers/enthusiasts BUY stock items like Bachmanns are to do with NOT having to glue , cut, paint, etc to any great degree.
Time being an issue?

therefore I posed the question, why will a maker not produce a simple line of 3rd rail trackage as a package?

whilst 3rd rail flex track may be a unique product for the UK, so is the 4CEP.......and the two would go nicely together?

the ability to buy easy to lay trackage with that 3rd rail would go a long way towards making the realistic usage of SR electric sets a possibility.

then those pickup shoes wont be obviously hanging in mid air?

[simple, basic pointwork with 3rd rail add ons would also complete the ensemble?]

who knows?

with such an idea, maybe the 3rd rail could also be used for pickup?

with all that realistic flashing?

Hi - Its probably easier to use the Peco add-on rail as the 3rd rail switches over from one side to the other past pointwork, platforms etc so there would still be an awful lot of fiddling to be done. It does look really effective when the end of each section is angled down correctly and often painted white. If you want to go the whole hog some areas need boxing in on either side of the 3rd rail. Pointwork is interesting as again the 3rd rails position varies according to the layout of the rest of the track. Doubtless someone modelling various Underground types would want the third rail in the middle or even both alternatives ie a 4th rail as I seem to remember seeing in some places. I am waiting for a 4CEP myself, I won't bother with 3rd rail but a friend has an exhibition layout with it so i might scrounge a run!
I used to have a triang oval layout when a lot younger and I saved up all my birthday/christmas money until i could afford
the tiny green 040 pantograph loco and enough cantenary to go round. When it had aged a little I used to turn the room light off and watch the sparks from the overhead 'wire'! - They were orange instead of the proper blue, but pretty good none the less.

Regards to you all
 

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QUOTE Hi - Its probably easier to use the Peco add-on rail as the 3rd rail switches over from one side to the other past pointwork

not quite the point I was making.....

I think the very idea of 'having to glue and sort' peco track components is an issue.

why do folk 'do without' the third rail?

However, if some enterprising body made, for example, set track or flex track with a built -in third rail...even if only a moulded gesture, which could simply be 'bought and laid', then maybe, SR electric sets might appeal more?

even to the collector who only wants a length of track for display?

the side the collector rail sits is irrelevant...turn the track around?

point work isn't really an issue.....3rd rail can either be built/mouded in, or supplied as a complete add-on?

in fact, a clip=on plastic 3rd rail , complete and ready to plug in, would be better than nothing?

the peco parts are excellent...but they are just that...parts.
they require flddling with, gluing, sorting out......and their lack of general usage is probably for the same reasons as most folk don't hand-build their track anymore?

when was the last time most of you used Individulay? With its individual pandrol clips?

what, no one?

all using Peco Streamline?

I wonder why?

suggestion to bachmann.......they already have a world market trackage system.........

why not produce some flex with outside third?

the wood covers could be a natty add-on? for those so inclined?

all to sell alongside the 4 -CEP's?
 

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OHL equipment is available at a reasonable cost from Viessmann - the H section masts are a good representation of the ones used in the UK (we sell quite a lot to UK modellers). It is robust, the masts clip into the bases so removal for track maintenence/scenary is straightforward.

Yes, derailments can be a problem sorting out (another reason why I favour the Fleischmann Profi-Coupling), but the "extra" visual effect of OH electrics with the panto up when running is well worth it.

Having said the, the OHL equipment on "St.Laurent" is all hand soldered in brass, copper & steel (it was constructed by the original builder Bill Roberts) & has, on odd occasions broken an errant panto ! (BTW - it's heavy looking construction reflects the prototype's 3,000v DC appearence.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
QUOTE (alastairq @ 17 Aug 2007, 21:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>thanks for following on my queue elsewhere..
My brain clearly wasn't fully in gear when I picked up your question, otherwise I would have mentioned the source, and posted this in 'station concourse' as this is a scale independent issue.

Regarding overhead, when I have seen it done well, as in the photo Doug provided, it is very impressive. And it does encourage adoption of a lineside viewing position: (that happens to be my preference so I am biassed, always build my layouts high so that when seated I get a side on view.)

As for 3rd rail (comments also apply to 4th rail as in UK underground practise), done well it adds much. Based on a conversation of many years ago with the exhibitors of an SR lines third rail layout, I don't think RTR 3rd rail is the way to go, unless very cleverly arranged. Their developed process was to lay the track as regular two rail, test it, ballast and weather. Then when everything was running satisfactorily they added the ready painted third rail elements piece by piece, with running checks for clearances as groups of pieces were added. This was all handbuilt track, soldered construction, and this process had been devised for two reasons. First, the strongest construction and best appearance was most easily obtained using the conductor rail in the longest possible lengths; adding the conductor rail later meant that it was easier to achieve this. Second, the presence of the conductor rail when laying, testing, ballasting and weathering was proven by experience to make all of these jobs more awkward; better to do it subsequently when these earlier jobs were all 'sorted'. I don't feel thats a complete obstacle to RTR: an included plug in length of conductor rail able to go into ready made holes in the sleeper ends might answer. Full length plain pieces with the insulator chairs threaded on but moveable with every length of flexi track, and a small assortment of ramps and short lengths in with each point, arguably in both boxed and plain forms might make a workable product. But I cannot help feeling that's barely a step away from what Peco already provide for anyone really wanting 3rd rail...
 

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My father and I made the whole of a branch line off our main line OHL-equipped with the original and the Mark2 Triang overhead - the latter was exceedingly easy to fit on, although it was more 'tramway' style than mainline OHLE. But it did get in the way when things went wrong and we never extended it. We also ran the Triang 4-sub EMU but never bothered with a mock thirdrail. (We lived in SE London and these were a very common sight.)

My relatively recent return to railway modelling will not involve either OHLE or third rail, it would be just too fiddly, I feel.

Those who model parts of, say, the Euston line, would have to include both forms of electrification, of course!
There is the precedent of one or two preserved railways who have EMUs but haul them with a diesel or electro-diesel avoiding the need for laying a third-rail.

The Peco system does offer a reasonable alternative both for working and cosmetic 3rd or 4th rail, although the Code 60 rail they offer is standard flat-bottom cross-section rail and not the nearly square conductor rail used in real life.

Perhaps there is a market for 'add-on' flexible plastic third/forth conductor rail with insulators and end-pieces which can be quickly glued in position?

Regards,
John Webb
 

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QUOTE (Dennis David @ 18 Aug 2007, 04:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>For me my railroad will never be finished until it's Unter Draht. It's why I love electrics in the first place. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it a pain? Yes again. Is it bliss when completed.

Hear hear! Well said that man.


Goedel von Brum
 

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I once lived near Brum......

Having read the above posts with great interest, I see they are posted obviously be modellers with some skill, or awareness, and able to consider3rd rail..but as a ''scratch' building project.....which is essentially what the Peco components provide?

my train (!) of thought started with the BAchmann reps comments on the poor sales for electric locos...and their doubts as to the saleability in numbers, of SR electric sets.

It occurred to me that one issue regarding SR electrics was, the unrealistic trackwork currently available.

Together with my impression (from this forum and others) that time for tedious scratch building is at a premium with most modellers, such that most prefer to tolerate the compromises in appearance offered by Peco Streamline and others...set track, for example....

put the two thoughts together, and I came up with...why not set-track, or flex, with ready-made '3rd rail?'

Nothing complex.......if a modeller wants complex pointwrk, then for 3rd rail, peco might be the answer.....

but if Tillig and others can produce commercial dual gauge track....why not some 3rd rail stuff for the UK?

the point being...a chicken and egg principle.

Easy use, [plug and play??] 3rd rail track...trainset or flex....might open the door for the likes of bachby to produce EMU's, which might sell?

After all, 3rd rail electric trains are a very big part of a lot of people's railway experiences?

We currently have a LOT of SR steam..some diesel, or electric locos......given that so much of our well known rail system is behind 3rd rail, I am supprised someone hasn't actually produced something that makes things easy for everybody to achieve that extra bit of realism....WITHOUT EFFORT?

peco..though a fine product, isn't within everybody's skills to take advantage of.

ready made, easy use is needed.
 

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oh, by the way, a Triang 'Electra' was probably my 'dream loco'' when a young lad.......and their overhead seemed just fine to me!

I also grew up with the Trix EM1 on my 'wish list'....but both these locos were very much in the forefront of advertising when I was in my early teens.

before then, I thought Trix Twin, with its common return centre rail..enabling 2 or 3 locos to run independantly on the same track....to be the dogsdanglers........

what goes around, comes around?

DCC?

(anybody remember the Wrenn slot racing cars? With their '3rd car' and overtaking facitlity?? Off thread again, I know, but my mind flits these days.....)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since no track manufacturer is willing to tool up for UK sleeper size and spacing RTR points in OO, chances of 3rd rail RTR have to be vanishingly small. As Brian wrote, this is down to the relatively small size of the UK model railway market.
 

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QUOTE Easy - too small a market.

yes, that is a 'given' in the current climate....but....as 'justification' I quoted the examples of Tillig..simply to show that adding a third 'rail' wasn't an impossibility....plus, I suppose, just how limited is the market for dual gauge track?

The Bachmann interview raised a query regarding the saleability of the 4-CEP units.

again I repeat, why should Southern electric units not be as poplular as DMU's?

then I considered, perhaps realistic track for them to run on, that was easy to lay, reasonably priced considering the limited market, might JUST kick-start a rise in popularity?

as I said,its a bit chicken and egg?

BAck a bit, John Webb suggested

QUOTE Perhaps there is a market for 'add-on' flexible plastic third/forth conductor rail with insulators and end-pieces which can be quickly glued in position?

Perhaps this might be the 'way to go?'....especially if the prototypical 'correctness' was done by the manufacturer, rather than the individual modeller having to wade through reams of research?

I dunno....but then, I'm not buying any 4-CEPS, or any other SR electric sets.....so for me the issue doesn't arise, however.......????
 

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QUOTE (Dennis David @ 18 Aug 2007, 05:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>For me my railroad will never be finished until it's Unter Draht. It's why I love electrics in the first place. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it a pain? Yes again. Is it bliss when completed? ...


I most certainly agree - to me an electric loco not running under the wires is like a rooster with its tail feathers plucked - bare! Just like a steam loco fascinates with its working gear so does an electric with its operating pantos.

Installing catenary and operating under the wires do present some challenges, but model railroaders are known to meet any challenge or problem and come up with a workable solution.

Proper planning is of the utmost importance. If track is laid properly and the catenary installed and tested before starting to operate the layout in earnest, then the problems caused by catenary should be minimal. As in real life, most of the problems are the result of human error (points not set correctly, not paying attention to the driving of your loco etc).

Enjoy our fascinating and rewarding hobby even if it has to be "under the wires"!


Kind regards.

Johan
 

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I notice a lot of stuff concerning catenary.....( I made my own overhead wires..not catenerised, but strung, tramway-style....)

but what has happened to Sommerfeldt and its overhead products?

[I have a pair of Sommerfeldt pans, one in use, one in the box]
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 21 Aug 2007, 07:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>but what has happened to Sommerfeldt and its overhead products?

[I have a pair of Sommerfeldt pans, one in use, one in the box]

Sommerfeld is still available as is the excellent value for money Viessmann.
 

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QUOTE (Johan de Villiers @ 20 Aug 2007, 22:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I most certainly agree - to me an electric loco not running under the wires is like a rooster with its tail feathers plucked - bare! Just like a steam loco fascinates with its working gear so does an electric with its operating pantos.

Installing catenary and operating under the wires do present some challenges, but model railroaders are known to meet any challenge or problem and come up with a workable solution.

Proper planning is of the utmost importance. If track is laid properly and the catenary installed and tested before starting to operate the layout in earnest, then the problems caused by catenary should be minimal. As in real life, most of the problems are the result of human error (points not set correctly, not paying attention to the driving of your loco etc).
I have to agree with everything Johan says here. Even better if the loco is drawing its current from the wire too...
 
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